Saturday was my brother's official Eagle Scout Court of Honor. He "graduated" to Eagle with five other guys, all from his troop, which makes @ 10-12 scouts from Troop 140 that have made Eagle in the last few years (to put that in perspective: only 2% of Boy Scouts ever reach Eagle rank, so, for those 12, 588 young men didn't make it).
There was something so good, so decent and . . . healthy about the whole thing. Before the "pinning" ceremony, the other Troop 140 scouts - the little guys who haven't even made Life Scout yet - gathered onstage and went through this thing where they all read from a card about the significance of the Scout Oath (a Scout is brave, reverent, clean, obedient, etc.). Then each of the new Eagles came up and honored both of their parents and a mentor with a special pin, before they themselves received their new neckercheifs and Eagle badges. Each of these guys had to finish a substantial community service project in order to gain their rank, which they must organize, fund-raise for, and execute with the help of their troop - so, not only did they finish their own projects, they also had to help out on several other Eagle projects in the mean time. We watched slideshow after slideshow of these six guys organizing charity food-pantries, regrouting grimy women's-shelter showers, pouring cement, re-planting gardens, as well as other boy stuff like climbing mountains, filming backyard war-movies, throwing tomahawks and setting things on fire :-)
I really hope the things they learned will stay with them, that they'll remember them when it counts. Watching the ceremony gave me just a teensy little ray of hope for the future of mankind. Hurrah for the Boy Scouts, long may they be gender-segregated!